The Great 800

One of hockey’s greats gets even greater.


Photo credits to RMNB.

On Tuesday, December 13th, Washington Capitals captain and left-winger Alexander Ovechkin completed a hat trick to score his 798th, 799th, and 800th regular season goals. In doing so, Ovechkin became only the 3rd ever NHL player to reach 800, behind league legends Gordie Howe (801) and Wayne Gretzky (894). 

Credit to the Washington Capitals.

While carrying him to one of the league’s most impressive milestones, Ovechkin’s 29th career hat trick also helped the Capitals with their 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, which extended their win streak to 5. Aside from Ovi’s 3 goals (2 in the first period and 1 in the third), the Caps saw a spread of goals across their roster: van Riemsdyk and Dowd in the second, Mantha and Orlov in the third. The Hawks hit back with a goal per period from Johnson, Toews, and Domi, but weren’t fast enough to stem the tide of goals. 

Ovechkin has long been a significant presence in the NHL. This season is his 18th, where the league average hovers at around five, and all 18 seasons have been spent playing with the Capitals, who drafted him as their first pick in 2005 from the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo. Since then he’s won almost every award possible: the Calder (best rookie), an Art Ross (most points) in 2008, nine Rocket Richards (most goals scored), three Harts (league MVP), three Ted Lindsays (league MVP), and the Conn Smythe (playoffs MVP) when the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018. He’s also put up insane numbers, currently holding around 24 league and 16 franchise records. Some standouts include most points, goals, and shots by a Russian-born player, most career 50-goal seasons, most road goals, most goals scored with one franchise, and most goals scored by a left-winger. So suffice it to say, Ovechkin is a current legend, and a future NHL Hall-of-Famer. 

What comes next for The Great 8? Ovechkin needs one more goal to tie Gordie Howe’s 801-goal record, and two to pass it. Then comes the push towards Gretzky: Ovechkin currently needs 95 goals to pass The Great One’s legendary goal record. While we’ll likely see Ovechkin surpass Howe in the next couple games, the road to Gretzky will be a multiple-season endeavor. 

Photo credit to The Hockey News.

Reaching 800 is one of the biggest goal-related milestones in hockey, and there’s no doubt that Ovechkin is one of, if not the best goal scorer in the NHL. But unfortunately, one man can’t carry a team to victory. The Washington Capitals are currently sitting at 5th in the Metro, and suffer from defensive and coaching issues, compounded by having the second-oldest team in the league with an average age of around 29.5. The Caps current game streak is treating them well, but they’ll have to find some new blood if they want to keep supporting Ovechkin’s goal-scoring pace in the future.